I’ve just finished this one I think, although as an art teacher said, “Paintings are never finished, only abandoned”. I’m not entirely sure that’s true however as there’s definitely such a thing as overworking!
Anyway. I thought I’d give you a bit of insight into how this one came together.
The model kindly allowed me to visit her in her home where she danced and we chatted and I took lots of photos. I could have made a number of paintings out of the session, having gone through all the photos, but as I looked for patterns and repeats within the images I was struck by the fierceness and strength of these poses and I think they reflect the strength of the lady herself.
I had a fair idea of the colours I was going to use because the model showed me a scarf she owns with colours she likes, and I already know she likes the colours of my ‘Saxophone Player‘ painting.
I wanted to use repeated figures in the composition to show movement To get an idea of how the composition would work I printed out some of the images I liked, traced the outlines of some onto baking parchment and had a play arranging them, then stuck them into my sketchbook. Here are the two final arrangements I had to choose between.
I chose the second idea as it seemed more dynamic.
I painted the canvas a bright orange colour and blocked in the figures as well as some of the swirls of colour. I did a pastel study to check how the colours worked together as well, but to a large extent this part was trial and error, adding paint on and wiping it off as I went, as well as allowing it to drip and flow. It’s probably easier to do this on a large canvas than a small one, and I definitely enjoy the physicality of it, you feel more part of the painting. In fact I like to do this part without looking at the photo references as the painting needs to work on its own and it definitely takes on a life of its own as I paint.
Here are some work in progress shots.
I enjoyed this painting as it builds on the series I did for exhibition at the end of 2018, but I’ve got a bit more experience so it feels easier. I plan to paint more dancers and musicians this year and hope I get to exhibit them soon!